Tibet, always associated with snow-topped peaks, scattered temples, colorful sutra streamers and devoted believers, remains the sacred land of mystery, and there are nearly as many myths that wrap around the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, a vital passage stretching into the heartland of Tibet.
Construction of the highway started 65 years ago, which winds through 21 mountains, some over 4,000 meters high, and crosses 14 major Southwest China rivers. The whole project involved 110,000 builders made up of soldiers and local residents. More than 2,000 builders died finishing the line.
Reaching its highest point at a 5,050 meters altitude, it is one of the worldâ€™s riskiest roads leads to altitude headaches and near-death experiences. Driving this road takes not only skill but a motorcycle with a powerful engine and great handling, which we are fortunate enough to meet both – test rider â€œ28â€ and the new Lifan KPS200.
â€œ28â€, a senior test rider who has traveled on six motorcycle journeys so far ranging from Hainan in the south up to as far north as the Arctic Circle, working with various Lifan models including the KP-Mini, KP150, KPR200, CC250 and, lately, the KPS200, has been sharing his in-depth experience on test riding and tour with fellow motorcycle fans on the Internet for several years.
EXCERPTS FROM 28’S MOTORCYCLE DIARY
The stylish headlight is updated to make the KPS200 more sporty, and the elaborate layout of the LCD dashboard and optimized tank shape present a dynamic silhouette. White-colored body featuring a new inverted front suspension with golden coating is definitely eye-catching. Carefully-placed signal lights and unique wheel design characterize the casual-style street bike.
The rear part adopts a similar design to the KP-150, especially the exhaust. I replaced the original rear handrail of KPS-200 with KP-150 carrier so I can tie my trunk up – very convenient for a long trip.
Performance & Handling
Loaded with 60kg luggage, the KPS200 picked up the top speed of 105 km/h on the plateau, and I always switched to the 3rd or 4th gear when uphill climbing. No malfunction occurred along the way. The starting system responded immediately without any delay, a solid proof to back the reliability of Lifanâ€™s electronic fuel injection system. Riding for a whole day after filling up the tank and then getting a refill, I figured out that the fuel efficiency of the KPS200 is around 2.2L/100km, which was satisfactory in consideration of the winding trail over four mountains all above 4,000 meters high.
I spent the past few years testing and traveling with Lifan motorcycles in a variety of weather conditions, and deepened my understanding of the brand thereupon. Witnessing the rapid growth of Lifan motorcycles and especially the KP series, I appreciate their continuous effort in sustaining innovations and improving R&D over the years, and do believe that Lifan has been a role model for Chinese motorcycle manufacturers.